The Introduction to the Cleanweb event held at Bristol’s Engine Shed this month as part of Digital Bristol Week did a fantastic job of bringing together companies using technology to solve sustainability challenges.
As organiser Sonny Masero explained: “2015 is a big year for Bristol and beyond, so we wanted to start by showcasing some of the South West’s most exciting and inspiring examples of where clean technology meets the web.”
Green tech experts
The presentations included Professor Dimitra Simeonidou the person behind the pioneering Bristol is Open smart city project, which is about to completely revolutionise how Bristol is managed.
“Showcasing some of the South West’s most exciting and inspiring examples of where clean technology meets the web”
We also heard from an amazing initiative to store solar energy from housing, schools and offices in batteries to save money and energy use, a startup providing access to local sustainable food and a company making invisible polluting gases visible to allow people to visualise the environmental impact industry and building use can have.
What makes a cleanweb company successful?
The Cleanweb event also included a lively roundtable discussion which provided the community of eco-tech companies in the Bristol and Bath region with food for thought. It covered topics such as how to find viable business models for green tech startups, how data can be shared for good and the lively network of green tech companies available in the region.
You can see a quick overview of the event in the video below:
The Smartweb exhibitors
You can find out more about the exhibitors making waves in the area of green technology below:
Bristol is Open – cutting-edge open data smart city experiment
Professor Dimitra Simeonidou (pictured right), Chief Technology Officer, took us through her amazing Bristol is Open project – a ground-breaking open city-management scheme delivered by high-speed internet, with the potential to monitor and control pretty much any aspect of how the city of Bristol is managed.
By using and opening up smart city technologies connected together by three new fast data networks – in the ground; bouncing from lamppost to lamppost and connecting wirelessly along the Brunel Mile – the city will be able to monitor and offer improvements to the control of various components of city life, from energy to air quality and traffic flow.
The data will be provided by small sensors, including the smartphones and GPS devices of willing participants, which will be fed into a city operating system. This will dynamically host machine-to-machine communication, allowing the development of a wide range of applications.
Carbon Visuals – on making the invisible visible
The Bristol-based studio of Carbon Visuals do something very simple: make greenhouse gases and other pollutants visible. CEO Anthony Turner (pictured right) explained how Carbon Visuals recognised that the biggest problem with people engaging with climate change is that people can’t see the pollutants that are causing the problem. As he says “If you could see the amount of carbon dioxide you were producing you’d do something about it.”
So Carbon Visuals produce visuals and videos of the actual amounts of gas being produced by various industries or buildings or activities, scaled against an everyday object, with impressively effective results. As he said during the talk “If you get it right in terms of the visuals you can really reach out to people.”
You can see an example of their work showing how much coal, oil and gas is being use per day compared to the size of skyscrapers in this dynamic four-minute film, created for the launch of the UN Climate Change Summit in New York September 2014:
Foodtrade.com – discover better ways to buy and sell local food
Foodtrade is a startup that makes it easy to find, sell, buy and grow local food. Lyndsey Knight (pictured right), Communications Manager for Foodtrade, took us through how the company is mapping the food map – from food source to destination, to build a better and fairer food system.
The company is out to be the one-stop-shop for people wanting to know more about where food has come from and what it contains.
Lyndsey also talked us through the changes to EU laws on allergens, and how Foodtrade can help restaurants label their menu with any potential allergens – a very useful service and a possible new revenue stream for the company.
The Sola Bristol project – battery storage to capture household-produced solar power
Roger Hey (pictured right), the Future Networks Manager for Western Power Distribution explained the thinking behind the So La Bristol Project.
In a bid to improve energy efficiency, protect energy supplies during powercuts and lower energy costs, electricity collected from solar cells from 30 residential homes, 1 office block and 10 schools is now being stored in batteries when it is not being used. This means participants have access to free solar energy both when the sun is shining and even when it’s not.
You can see how the Sola Project is already helping one family save money in the video below:
More to come?
It is hoped that this event will be the first of a series focussing on clean web and green tech businesses in specific fields in the Bristol and Bath region.
“We’re now thinking about what future Cleanweb events we could run, perhaps with a sector-specific focus on energy, food, transport or cities”
As organiser Sonny Masero explains: “The event was a great success, in the first week all 50 places were booked and we had a waiting list of 40. With such demand, we’re now thinking about what future Cleanweb events we could run, perhaps with a sector-specific focus on energy, food, transport or cities.”
He added “This event is part of a series of events that will help Cleanweb technology flourish in the region. Anyone interested in this space should keep an eye on the Green Capital Digital Challenge and Venturefest in June.”
To keep up to date on all the latest news and events about Cleanweb on Twitter see #GreenTech2015. For more from Bristol 2015 you can also follow @Bristol_2015 on Twitter or join the conversation on Facebook.
Image Credits: ©JonCraig.co.uk